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  • Writer's pictureBen Balliro

Is That a Real Cuban Cigar??

People often associate Cuban cigars with "ultra luxury" and "the best cigars". The bottom line is Cubans are good cigars, great cigars even, but calling them the best? That's a long stretch in today's multinational cigar market. Perhaps because Hollywood shows rich snobs, antagonists, and mob bosses smoking Cuban cigars. Maybe it's because it has a "forbidden fruit" feel to smoking a Cuban, a sort of, je ne sais quoi that appeals to our American democracy to "stick it to the man" I.e. It's illegal therefore I must have it because our government's embargo says I can't. Or it could just simply be you believe Cuba has the best quality tobacco and therefore is the best cigar to be rolled.

Now this is all just speculation but I perceive there is an element of truth to it. I don't want anyone reading this to think that Cuban cigars are not as good as other imports, but my point is don't let the mirage fool you from the desert. Cuban cigars are in fact very meticulously rolled, have a unique climate especially in the Vuelta Abajo region, and thereby allowing for distinct flavor profile. Cohiba Behike, for example, use a very limited amount of special tobacco called Medio Tiempo. On average only 1 in 10 tobacco plants produce this "super ligero" (top tier) leaves and they are hard to find much less harvest and roll into a cigar. However, the flavors and texture of a Cohiba Behike are second to none.

Also keep in mind that we are not the only ones who enjoy a good Cuban cigar. In Europe, for example, since they don't have the Cuban embargo that we have here, they smoke Cuban cigars almost exclusively. In fact Germany and UK are some of the largest demographics of cigar smokers and a large percent of them are Cuban cigars. I, and others, would argue that there is premium tobacco coming from Nicaragua, Dominican Rep, Honduras, Mexico, Brazil, etc etc... that is exceptional quality, but much cheaper and more abundant in supply for the US market. If you really want to impress someone, find a pre-embargo Davidoff Cuban that's aged for 30+ years. Then you have everyone's attention.

Cuban Cigars are usually more expensive to make, have stricter regulations due to the dictatorship of Fidel's brother Raul, and have to export them all over the world just to maintain a sustainable cash crop for their country. My advice to you is this, be humble. If someone is smoking a Cuban cigar, don't call them out on it, simply ask "What are you smoking this evening?" Keep it simple and enjoy the company of the person smoking it. Also, same advice to you cigar smokers, if you are smoking an authentic Cuban cigar (of which I question your genuine Cuban you got on a cruise last summer) keep it to yourself. Trust me you will be ousted and you will be made fun of later that night.

What matters is the quality of the cigar good or not? Just because it's comes from Cuba and you spent 45 dollars for that cigar, doesn't mean it's the best cigar in the room. Cuban's are just as susceptible to human errors and bad crop years as anyone else. And don't think that because you are smoking something that's illegal (which honestly at this day and age it's really not anymore) that makes you above the law somehow. Enjoy your cigar and be humble. Nobody wants to smoke around a first class jacka** who shows off any chance they get.

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